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Bioorg Med Chem. 2011 Mar 15;19(6):1866-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Synthesis of new glycyrrhetinic acid derived ring A azepanone, 29-urea and 29-hydroxamic acid derivatives as selective 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 inhibitors.

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Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry, University of Technology, Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Vienna, Austria.


Glycyrrhetinic acid, the metabolite of the natural product glycyrrhizin, is a well known nonselective inhibitor of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) type 1 and type 2. Whereas inhibition of 11β-HSD1 is currently under consideration for treatment of metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, 11β-HSD2 inhibitors may find therapeutic applications in chronic inflammatory diseases and certain forms of cancer. Recently, we published a series of hydroxamic acid derivatives of glycyrrhetinic acid showing high selectivity for 11β-HSD2. The most potent and selective compound is active against human 11β-HSD2 in the low nanomolar range with a 350-fold selectivity over human 11β-HSD1. Starting from the lead compounds glycyrrhetinic acid and the hydroxamic acid derivatives, novel triterpene type derivatives were synthesized and analyzed for their biological activity against overexpressed human 11β-HSD1 and 11β-HSD2 in cell lysates. Here we describe novel 29-urea- and 29-hydroxamic acid derivatives of glycyrrhetinic acid as well as derivatives with the Beckman rearrangement of the 3-oxime to a seven-membered ring, and the rearrangement of the C-ring from 11-keto-12-ene to 12-keto-9(11)-ene. The combination of modifications on different positions led to compounds comprising further improved selective inhibition of 11β-HSD2 in the lower nanomolar range with up to 3600-fold selectivity.

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